Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Helicopters to remove $1M worth of pot plants from Forest Service land Wednesday

Officials are planning to use a helicopter Wednesday to remove thousands of marijuana plants -- worth more than $1 million -- found over the past two days on public land in the mountains west of Lyons. SWAT officers with Boulder County and Longmont police returned Tuesday to the remote national forest area near the towns of Raymond and Riverside, where they had found 3,500 marijuana plants worth $500,000 on Monday. They discovered an even larger stretch of 4,000 marijuana plants, said Boulder County Sheriff's Cmdr. Rick Brough. Officers spent much of Tuesday pulling up plants at the second site, which covered about five acres, he said. Authorities left the scene just before dark Tuesday and planned to return early Wednesday to fly out the uprooted plants using cargo nets and two helicopters supplied by the Colorado National Guard, Brough said. Officers found the first set of plants Monday and launched a massive search for a man "known to be heavily armed" who was suspected of being involved in the illegal growing operation. SWAT teams didn't find the suspect -- described as a 5-foot-6 Hispanic man weighing about 150 pounds -- on Monday or Tuesday, but officers discovered evidence that multiple people are involved in the operation, according to Brough...more

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